EMS, DHS perform similar missions on one campus

Desert High School shares a campus with Edwards Middle School here. The campus features 11 buildings. Both schools provide education to children whose parents either reside or work at Edwards Air Force Base. (Photo by Airman 1st Class Julius Delos Reyes)

Desert High School shares a campus with Edwards Middle School here. The campus features 11 buildings. Both schools provide education to children whose parents either reside or work at Edwards Air Force Base. (Photo by Airman 1st Class Julius Delos Reyes)

EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Children ages 12 to 18 walk through the halls beneath the same roof. As soon as the bell rings, these children go to their respective schools. 

Edwards Middle School and Desert High School share the same campus, which serves more than 600 students. 

Edwards Middle School caters to kids ages 12 to 14 while children ages 14 through 18 go to Desert High School. 

Providing instruction for these students are 11 middle school and 23 high school teachers. 

"We have a strong and productive staff," said Nat Adams, Edwards Middle and Desert High Schools' principal. 

Both schools accept students who live on base or whose parents work here. 

"Our students are well-behaved," Mr. Adams said. "They take pride in their education. They work hard. It's a pleasure working at a school like this." 

The schools' academic programs and the quality of education are very high, Mr. Adams said. 

"The product that we are producing with these kids is being recognized across the nation," said Jackie Payne, Desert High assistant principal. 

The schools' performance is proven by their scores in the Academic Performance Index. Ms. Payne said the schools have the highest academic scores in the entire Antelope Valley.

Mr. Adams said a small school provides a much more personalized education for the children. 

The ROTC program for the high school students is also incredibly successful, Mr. Adams said. 

"They go outside the traditional four-walled classroom," he said. "They have a lot of activities involved because of the leadership and physical aspect of the program." 

Both schools provide a wide array of educational programs to enhance student learning. 

For sports, Desert High provide a full range of sports programs including football, softball, baseball, tennis and volleyball for both girls and boys. Edwards Middle only has basketball and volleyball. 

Both schools offer core subjects including English, mathematics, science, social studies, Spanish and arts. However, they only offer a minimum number of elective courses. 

The schools also offer vocational programs such as computer and woodshop. 

To help the schools with the children's education, the base has set up the Center of Excellence, which will soon offer a mentoring and tutoring program. 

Though Desert High and Edwards Middle schools reside in one campus, administrators make it a point to give a distinction between them. 

"It has been our focal point to keep them separate as much as possible," Mr. Adams said. 

There have been instances where the students from these two schools have mixing points. One of this is the gym class. 

"We only have one gym to accommodate two schools," Mr. Adams said. 

Most of the time, they have separate lunches, athletic events, nutritionists and dancing events. 

Mr. Adams said they have to separate them because the middle school students are not at the same level of maturity as the high school students. 

"The campus is a great place to be, and it's a safe place to be," Mr. Adams said. "It's a full high school and middle school experience."